Thoughts on Meetings

The Law of Triviality. Briefly stated, it means that the time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved.

Group Decision Making

Thumbs: Decision Making

This group decision making tool enable your group to get a quick sense of everyone’s perspective spending less time in conversation.

Purpose: To determine the level of support for a decision in order to achieve consensus. To find out what is missing or standing in the way of consensus.

1.            Clearly state the proposed solution or decision and resolve any ambiguities.

2.             Ask participants to vote with their thumbs:

- Thumbs up – can live with decision and will support it

- Thumbs down – can’t live with the decision

- Thumbs sideways – not sure, need more information

3.            Consensus is reached if all participants vote thumbs up.

4.            A group needs to seek enthusiastic support for a decision when:

- the stakes are very high

- the decision is irreversible

- the issue is very complicated

- there are many stakeholders

- members will need to tap into their passion and creativity to implement the decision

5.            If consensus is reached, and you wish to determine the level of enthusiastic support, ask participants to vote again, this time using their fingers (you may skip steps 2-4 and go directly to this step):

- 1 finger   = I fully endorse the decision (or thumbs up)

- 2 fingers = I endorse the decision with one minor point of contention (or thumbs at 10:30 o’clock)

- 3 fingers = I agree with the decision with reservations (or thumbs at 9 o’clock)

- 4 fingers = I disagree with the decision, but I will support it (or thumbs at 8:30 o’clock)

- 5 fingers = I disagree with the decision, I won’t help implement it, but I also won’t block it (or thumbs at 6 o’clock)

6.            Tally the votes. If there are significant votes of 3 or more fingers, you don’t have enthusiastic support. Turn it back to the group to seek feedback and decide how to move forward.  If there are any votes that are less than 1 finger then have the group discuss the reservation and come to a resolution.

Optionally index cards and pens can be used to vote anonymously

From Leading Effective Meetings Training Workbook

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